Sunday, April 27, 2008

My summer movie preview

I used to subscribe to Entertainment Weekly, but the magazine seemed to get thinner the reviews and stories flimsier, so I gave it up. But I still buy it at least a couple times a year, for the all-important summer and fall movie preview issues. Some of the summer's most anticiapted, including Indiana Jones (May 22); Sex and the City (May 30); Get Smart (June 20); and Mamma Mia (July 18); are at the top of my list.

But I can always find something interesting in the movies that haven't gotten as much attention, or weren't even on my radar, the ones that get summarized in a sentence instead of a two-page spread. For example, I didn't realize that Emma Thompson was starring in a remake of Evelyn Waugh's 1945 novel Brideshead Revisited, scheduled for a July 25 release.

I loved the 1981 British series with Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews as two young men from different ends of the social scale who become friends at Oxford in the 1920s. It aired in the United States in 1982 as part of the PBS series Great Performances. I even visited Castle Howard, in Yorkshire, where much of it was filmed. Matthew Goode, who was in Match Point, and Ben Whishaw, from Perfume, play the roles in the new version. Thompson is Lady Marchmain, a role played by Claire Bloom in the original.

And it's directed by Julian Jarrold, who made the funny and warm-hearted Kinky Boots, about a drag queen, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who helps save a troubled shoe factory. (I'm not doing justice to the plot, really. It's a great little movie).

I'm also looking forward to Diminished Capacity, scheduled to open on July 4. It's directed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company cofounder Terry Kinney. Here's the plot description: "A man, who suffers memory loss after getting hit on the head, takes a trip with his high school sweetheart and his Alzheimer's-addled uncle to a memorabilia show, as the group concocts a scheme to sell a rare baseball card." I love all road movies, and this one stars two actors I really like: Matthew Broderick and Alan Alda.

In addition to British movies and road movies, I'm also a big documentary fan, especially if they tell me something about people or places or events that I don't know much about. So I'm looking forward to Guy Maddin's offbeat, dreamlike portrait of his hometown, My Winnipeg (June13); Trumbo, about the blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (June 27); and Alex Gibney's Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (July 4). Gibney won the Oscar this year for Best Documentary for Taxi to the Dark Side.

Finally, I've always been a big Woody Allen fan. Annie Hall is one of my all-time favorite movies. Although my enthusiasm has waned over the past decade or so, I did like the two films he made in London, Match Point and Scoop. Maybe the change of scenery has been good for him. Now, he's moved on to Spain, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Aug. 29), a romantic comedy with Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson about a painter who's involved with two American college students. The cast sounds great, and I'm willing to give it a try.


Mondschein said...

I attended a test preview for "Brideshead" a couple of months ago. I hadn't been a big follower of the British mini-series when it first aired, but I'll be interested to hear what you think of this new film version.

Esther said...

Wow, that's great that you saw it. I love that whole Britain between the wars, decline of the aristocracy, etc., storyline. I will let you know what I think! Of course, I'm hoping it'll actually come to a theater near me, and stick around for longer than a week.